Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, PhD assumed the presidency of her Alma Mater in July 2004 as Barry’s sixth and first alumna president.
After graduating magna cum laude from Barry in 1962, she entered the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan. Sister Linda earned a master’s degree from Siena Heights University, Adrian, Michigan and a PhD from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan in 1980.
Following a few years as a first-grade teacher, Sister Linda returned to Barry where she held various administrative positions (1969-1978; 1981-1986), including founding dean of Barry’s School of Professional and Career Education and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. As Dean, Sister Linda initiated innovative degree programs for working adults at multiple sites throughout Florida.
Sister Linda left Barry in 1986 following her election to the leadership team of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. During her six-year term as Administrator of the Congregation, she oversaw administrative, financial, legal, corporate, and real estate matters.
From 1993 to 2002, Sister Linda was the president of Gwynedd-Mercy College (now University) in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania.
Sister Linda has been guiding the transformation of Barry University into an urban, comprehensive, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic university of about 9,000 students enrolled in one of two colleges and seven schools. Barry offers over one hundred bachelors. masters, doctoral and professional degrees throughout the state of Florida, Nassau, the Bahamas, and St. Croix, the US Virgin Islands. The Law School in Orlando gained full accreditation in 2006 from the American Bar Association, and the University was awarded ten year re-accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in December 2014.
Sister Linda is currently a member of civic, educational and professional organizations-Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors; Orange Bowl Committee; Beacon Council’s Coordinating Council and Academic Leaders’ Council; United Way of Miami Dade Advisory Council; Independent Colleges & Universities of Florida – Executive Committee 2014-present; Sunshine State Conference; Florida Association of Colleges and Universities-2013-2014 president; Florida Campus Compact Executive Committee; Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, 2015 National Conference Host Committee; Independent Sector 2015 National Conference Host Committee; International Women’s Forum; Honorary Board member, Holocaust Documentation and Education Center.
Since 2004, Sister Linda is the recipient of the following awards: initial inductee into “Hall of Fame” of the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York; first recipient of the Barry University “Distinguished Adrian Dominican Sister Alumna Award; the “Outstanding Community Service Award” from the South Florida Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration; “Chairman’s Award” from the Beacon Council; “Top Women-Led Not-for-Profit Businesses” from the Commonwealth Institute of South Florida; the “Founder’s Award” from Florida Campus Compact; and the “Service Award” from Samaritan Counseling Centers;
Sister Linda was awarded the Doctor of Laws degree (“honoris causa”) from the University in 1992. In addition to her Barry roots, Sister Linda has deep ties to the South Florida community since her family has lived in Miami-Dade County since 1958.